Australia's catholic private hospitals are calling on the national cabinet to make vaccinations compulsory for all hospital staff across the country and a rollout plan to ensure every worker has a date in their diary to have the required doses administered.
Currently, it is not mandatory for health care workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Catholic Health Australia (CHA) says its members are already redeploying unvaccinated staff to clinical areas where there is a lower risk of contact with the virus through infected patients.
It says a uniform rule to be vaccinated should be in place for hospital staff - regardless of where they work in the hospital.
According to CHA health policy director James Kemp, “Every year health care staff are required to get vaccinated against the flu and yet there’s no such directive for COVID.
"The high transmissibility of the Delta variant of COVID is putting workers and the people they care for at greater risk as well as putting extra strain on staff. We need a single, uniform rule across Australia for everyone working in a hospital environment.”
CHA said its call comes as France joins a growing list of countries mandating vaccinations for its health care workforce.
The federal government has required that all residential aged care staff must be vaccinated by mid-September. To support this goal, it has put in place a package of measures such as paid leave for casual staff or an $80 flat fee for staff who have to go off-site.
CHA said the national cabinet should put in place a similar scheme for all hospital staff across Australia, public and private.
Mr Kemp added, “Every worker should have a date in their diary to get vaccinated. Every dose that comes into the country should have a hospital worker's name next to it.”